Khabib Nurmagomedov will not grant Conor McGregor title rematch, but rivalry will 'never be finished'

Khabib Nurmagomedov will not grant Conor McGregor title rematch, but rivalry will 'never be finished'
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Khabib Nurmagomedov is ready to fight Conor McGregor the next time he sees him — except for inside the Octagon. 

The unbeaten UFC lightweight champion told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto on Thursday he has no interest in a second fight with McGregor (21-4) and will not grant him a rematch as long as he is champion. Nurmagomedov (27-0) also said their rivalry, which includes a public attack by McGregor at UFC 223 and an ugly melee following their UFC 229 title bout, will “never be finished.” 

The 30-year-old Nurmagomedov, who defeated McGregor by fourth-round submission last October, has completed the nine-month suspension handed down by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for his part in the brawl with McGregor’s team. The native of Dagestan, Russia, will make his second title defense on Sept. 7 against Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. 

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“Even [the October fight] did not finish it,” Nurmagomedov said. “Just smash people is not enough. I talk about just smash only him? It’s not enough. We have to smash all his team. This is what I think before the fight. This is what I say to my team. ‘Hey, tonight, we’re going to war. This is not about fight.’

“It will never be finished. Ever. Even if we see [each other] somewhere, we’re going to fight, 100 percent. It doesn’t matter if someone go to jail or something like this. I’m not scared about this.

“They go to hospital and we go to police. That’s it.”

The history of the feud between them goes back to UFC 223 in April 2018 when Nurmagomedov publicly slapped McGregor training partner Artem Lobov and was attacked days later by McGregor while sitting in a bus inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Things only got uglier from there as McGregor insulted everyone from Nurmagomedov’s family leading up to their UFC 229 bout that shattered company pay-per-view records. 

While both fighters served suspensions, their rivalry continued over social media in April when McGregor made inappropriate comments regarding Nurmagomedov’s wife. The UFC champion retaliated by calling McGregor a “rapist.”

McGregor, who served a six-month suspension for retaliating against Nurmagomedov’s team at UFC 229, hasn’t returned to the Octagon since and doesn’t have a fight scheduled while rehabbing an injured left hand. 

“This guy [McGregor] have to come back and make nine- or 10-fight win streak,” Nurmagomedov said. “Then we gonna fight. Maybe people who watch this interview, they think, ‘Oh, he think about this, but when UFC ask this guy to fight Conor for millions of dollars, this guy is gonna take it.’ No. Fight. Come back and show who are you.”

Nurmagomedov told ESPN he would prefer to fight “real guys” like Poirier, Tony Ferguson and retired two-division champion Georges St-Pierre in lieu of a fight “with a guy who never wins.” He went on to send a message to UFC president Dana White not to call him about a McGregor rematch after UFC 242.